As an aspiring event coordinator, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, I spoke with Ms. Jill Waddell via zoom about her career, communications, and writing within the profession I am pursuing. Ms. Waddell was introduced to me by one of my current professors with whom she has a close connection. Ms. Waddell is heavily involved in non-profit events, which I find very admirable.
Compassionate, influential, and determined to make a difference, are words I would use to describe Jill Waddell, founder of the Blue Twigs Events & Consulting Company; an event and management company that partners with non-profit organizations aimed to make a difference in the lives of others.
Ms. Waddell studied Journalism and Public Relations in college. After college, she became an event coordinator, a field in which she worked many years. Ms. Waddell decided to start her own event company, aimed at non-profit organizations, and one in which she has successfully run for over 25 years. Ms. Waddell told me she wanted to establish her own company that partnered with non-profit organizations in order to have an impact. One organization that Ms. Waddell partners with is the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Through Blue Twig’s Events & Consulting Company, Ms. Waddell helps to coordinate a residential summer camp for children who suffer with Crohn’s and Colitis as well as other autoimmune problems. The camps main focus is to give these children a place of normalcy, yet a place where they can also relate to others who have the same autoimmune disease.
Another organization that Ms. Waddell partners closely with as an event coordinator is The Rescue Dog Games, also known as the Dog Olympics. The Dog Rescue Games Event raises money for rescue animals, and in addition to coordinating events, another passion of mine. This event is held annually at Piedmont Park in Atlanta and is a place where dogs (and their owners) can join in on challenges to raise money for a variety of sponsored shelters.
Not only does Ms. Waddell coordinate the events for these nonprofit organizations, but she is head of directorship, works on board & volunteer development, fundraising, corporate sponsorship, and staff training for the Blue Twigs Events & Consulting.
Communication Behind Events
Just like any job communication is key. Without communication nothing would ever be complete. In the event field Ms. Waddell informed me that there is a much writing involved within her job – from writing sponsorship packets, creating social media posts, getting messages out to the public, creating press releases, sending out letters, and of course the everyday emails. It never occurred to me the amount of writing that is involved in a career with events. She spoke about her the importance of communication and the daily communication involved with working collaboratively with other people specifically the nonprofit organizations she partners with, volunteer workers, her staff and recruiters. She told me that everyone works well together as long as there is proper communication. Talking about communication lead me into talking with her about having a support system on the job. She shared that there are parts of the job she does alone, but she has many staff and volunteers in all different areas of her company that she trusts and works with well. She said she loves her team and communication is a big key part in events.
I was curious what it was like working in the event field and was thankful to be able to ask her many questions in which I got very helpful feedback. The first question I asked was what a typical day was like and the hours involved. Ms. Waddell replied with,
I found this to be very interesting, as it does make sense. I asked about how she handles stress in which she replied that she tries to always stay on top of her assignments and being organized. She said the way she handles stress is by planning ahead, staying positive and always having gratitude. Some qualifications for this career is to have good people skills: listen well, always collaborate, strong time management skills and always be adaptable. When asking her for advice on getting into this field, she encouraged me to take part in internships for experience and volunteer as much as possible.
What I Gathered
I want to thank Ms. Waddell for taking the time to talk with me about my interest in event coordinating. I am grateful for her advice and making me aware of things I did not consider as part of being an event coordinator. Her insight on how important writing and communication are in any career is invaluable. Having planned only a few small events on my own, her insight and expertise helped me to realize the key to communication not only in event planning, but in everything we do. Ms. Waddell has strong communication skills, and the connections she has made in her career have added to her success.
I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation that tied to her working with nonprofit organizations and how her ideas, values, and ideas align with mine. Her work with summer camps partnered with Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is important to me as my dad has suffered with Crohn’s Disease for over 30 years. I also have a deep passion for animals and have been a strong advocate of rescue dogs. This going back to my first adoption of three rescue dogs that found their forever home with my family. This interview made me excited to continue my career goal and I look forward to starting in the summer after my graduation.
This article and interview was written to explore the communication behind event coordinating. I had the privilege to speak to Mrs. Jill Waddell. She shared many stories about the communication she uses in events as well as the writing background the profession has. Here I used communication and collaboration.